Hillside Elementary School

Empowering all to learn, create, contribute and grow.

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School News

Principal's Messages

  • September 20, 2020

    Posted by Carlos Gramata on 9/20/2020 9:30:00 PM

    Hello, Hillside Families!

    I hope you had a wonderful weekend with your children and happy holidays to those who celebrated Rosh Hashanah!

    Tomorrow is a very special day.  In fact, we have two special days this week!  For the first time since March 13, we will welcome K-2 students whose families have selected the hybrid model and the Hillside staff could not be more thrilled!   We look forward to welcoming children back to school and to continuing to provide all students with the best educational experience possible--hybrid or remote!

    We are excited about celebrating students who completed our Summer Reading (grades 1-5) and Summer Bridge (grades 1 & 2) activities at our upcoming annual Back to School Pep Rally on October 9th.  I know some families have already turned in reading logs and bridge packets to their teachers (we thank you for that!).  Information regarding how to turn in the logs and/or packets can be found here.  Please note that they are due by this Friday, September 25th.  

    We have our Back to School Night scheduled for this Thursday evening starting at 6:00 p.m. with my general session.  Teachers will then present according to a set presentation schedule thereafter.  Please look for complete Back to School Night information in a separate message from me to be sent tomorrow (Monday).

    We look forward to Friday evening's PTA Kahoot! Trivia and Movie Night starting at 7:00 p.m.  Please see the link in the calendar below for the flyer.  It's free, so please try to join us!  And, you can help support the Hillside PTA by ordering lunch or dinner from Pizzetta that day!  Thanks, in advance, for your support and we look forward to seeing many students and families Friday evening!

    Thanks so much and enjoy the week ahead!

    Warm regards,

    Mr. Gramata

    P.S.  Please see below for the upcoming calendar of activities and events.

    P.P.S.  As always, this message will also be posted on the school’s site under “Principal’s Messages” for future reference. 

    Upcoming Calendar of Activities/Events

    Week of September 21, 2020

    Monday, 9-21: Cohort A

    Tuesday, 9-22: Cohort A

    Wednesday, 9-23: Cohort B

    Thursday, 9-24: Cohort B

    Hillside's Back to School Night, 6:00 p.m. General Meeting w/Mr. Gramata

    Friday, 9-25: Cohort B

    PTA's Virtual Trivia & Movie Night, 7:00 p.m. (PTA's Virtual Kahoot! Trivia 

    and Movie Night flyer)

    Week of September 28, 2020

    Monday, 9-28: Schools Closed for Yom Kippur

    Tuesday, 9-29: Cohort A

    Wednesday, 9-30: Cohort A

    Thursday, 10-1: Cohort B

    Friday, 10-2: Cohort B





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  • Hillside Hybrid Family Guide

    Posted by Carlos Gramata on 9/17/2020

    Hello, K-2 Families!

    We are excited to welcome those students who will begin the hybrid model next week!  It will surely be one of the best days we've had at Hillside since March!

    Please see attached for the Hillside Hybrid Family Guide.  It is my hope that this guide will provide you with information to get us started successfully.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your children's teachers or the main office at 973-535-8000, ext. 8150.

    Thank you and we can't wait to see our students next week!

    Best regards,

    Mr. Gramata

     

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  • September 13, 2020

    Posted by Carlos Gramata on 9/13/2020 3:00:00 PM

    Hello, Hillside Families!

    Our first week of school is behind us and we hope it was a good one for your children!  It was wonderful seeing students and families at the Meet & Greets!  Although the start of this year has been unlike any other, it remains our goal, first and foremost, to develop classroom community and positive relationships with students and families.  I would like to thank the faculty and staff for all of their hard work and efforts to that end, and the families for their support of their children and teachers.  If there's anything we can do for you, please do let us know!

    Regarding the materials that our students received in their bags, I would recommend organizing these materials by subject area at your children's workspaces, so that they are handy for when they are needed.  Technical assistance for Chromebook and technology-related issues can be requested from the Help Desk using this form.  I would recommend bookmarking this form for future use, just in case. It can also be found on the district's website. 

    We have our first PTA meeting of the school year on Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m.  The link for this meeting can be found in the calendar below.  Please note that all PTA meetings will be held virtually until further notice.  Please refer to the email that was sent yesterday from the PTA for membership information and I encourage all families to join this wonderful group that does so much to support our students and school. 

    Back to School Night is scheduled for the evening of Thursday, September 24th.  The event will be held virtually and will begin with my general address followed by half-hour teacher sessions (times TBD).  Additional information is forthcoming.

    We are excited to welcome back our K-2 hybrid students to school on Monday, September 21st!  Reminders and other pertinent information will be sent to K-2 families later this week.  At this point in time, all families should have made a selection of either "all remote" or "hybrid" in the Genesis portal.  Any changes from this point on must be made by office staff.  As per district communication, families who have selected "all remote" will have the ability to switch to hybrid, if interested, starting on November 1st.  Families whose children start the hybrid model can switch to remote at any time, but we do ask that you provide us with notification one day in advance.  Please note that the start of the hybrid model will minimally affect the schedule already in place for K-2 students.  The only difference is that we will end the morning for all students ten minutes earlier at 12:35 p.m. to provide ample time for safe student dismissal.  

    Thanks so much and enjoy the week ahead!

    Warm regards,

    Mr. Gramata

    P.S. Please see below for the upcoming calendar of activities and events.

    P.P.S.  As always, this message will also be posted on the school’s site under “Principal’s Messages” for future reference. 

    Upcoming Calendar of Activities/Events

    Week of September 14, 2020

    Tuesday, 9-15: Virtual PTA Meeting, 7:00 p.m. (click for Zoom link)

    Week of September 21, 2020

    Thursday, 9-24: Hillside's Back to School Night (held virtually; information forthcoming)

    Friday, 9-25: PTA's Virtual Trivia & Movie Night (information forthcoming)

    Week of September 28, 2020

    Monday, 9-28: Schools Closed for Yom Kippur

     

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  • Meet & Greets/Supply Pickups

    Posted by Carlos Gramata on 9/8/2020
    Hello, Hillside Families!
     
    I hope that your children had a wonderful first day of school!  I know teachers worked hard to create community-building activities, and these will continue through the rest of the week and throughout the year.  The impact of a positive classroom environment on student achievement is immeasurable and we are committed to getting it right!
     
    Please accept this friendly reminder that we have our Meet & Greets/Supply Pickups scheduled for this week as follows:
    • Grades K & 3, September 9 at 1:30 p.m.
    • Grades 1 & 4, September 10 at 1:30 p.m.
    • Grades 2 & 5, September 11 at 1:30 p.m.
    Note:  On the assigned days, virtual instruction will end at 12:10 p.m. to allow for teachers to prepare for the afternoon. 
     
    We will set up outside on the upper blacktop (to the right and down the stairs from the loop).  Each teacher will have an assigned table.  At this table, students and families will be able to meet their teachers and pick up any materials for the first month of school.  Devices will also be distributed to children in grades 1 & 2, and to all students who are new to Hillside School.  At this time, Kindergarten students will only receive a device on a case-by-case basis; if one is needed, please reach out to classroom teachers.
     
    All adults and children must wear masks and practice proper social distancing when on school property.  Parents are reminded that you must park cars off site on side streets, as our parking lot is for staff only.  
     
    At this point, the weather for Thursday's Meet & Greet looks a bit tentative.  If needed, I will be in touch with alternate plans for this event.  It will NOT be rescheduled.  
     
    Families who cannot make their scheduled Meet and Greet sessions should contact their teachers to let them know.  We will make alternate arrangements accordingly. 
     
    Thank you for your patience and understanding as we begin this new school year.  We look forward to your continued partnership as we work to have an amazing school year!
     
    Best regards,
    Mr. Gramata
    Comments (-1)
  • Message from Mr. Gramata, 9-3-20

    Posted by Carlos Gramata on 9/3/2020 11:00:00 AM

    Hello, Hillside Families!

    I hope this message finds you well and gearing up for a fun and relaxing Labor Day weekend!

    We have had a very busy week at Hillside School.  We had the pleasure of meeting our incoming Kindergarteners and families at our annual "Kindergarten Play Date" and Parent Orientation.  Welcome, husky pups!  Teachers and staff have been engaging in meetings and professional development opportunities to prepare for the start of the school year, and have been setting up classrooms and preparing materials for next week's Meet & Greet sessions.  In addition, they are preparing their welcome letters/packets that will be sent home tomorrow (Friday), in which they will provide Zoom access information, SeeSaw/Google Classroom access information and their daily schedules.  We all look forward to a wonderfully smooth first day of school on Tuesday!  (Note:  We are starting with an all remote schedule on Tuesday, September 8th, and will remain in all remote until further notice.  The announcement to switch to hybrid will be made by the district when appropriate.)

    Remote Learning Information

    Additional information for families pertinent to the remote learning schedule and experience is as follows:

    • Daily Agendas:  Unlike in the spring, teachers will NOT send daily agendas via email to parents.  Teachers will post and review the daily agenda with students as part of a daily morning meeting starting at 8:05 a.m.  Students MUST be present at morning meetings via Zoom at 8:05 a.m.  To the extent possible, teachers will post agendas in either SeeSaw or Google Classroom the night before.  This is not required at this time, but we will aim to do this, in advance, as the weeks progress.
    • Attendance:  Teachers will take attendance at morning meetings that start daily at 8:05 a.m.  Students must be present for daily meetings at 8:05, or they will be marked absent.  Unlike in the spring, parents and teachers will NOT exchange emails for attendance.  If students need to be absent on any given day, a phone call to the attendance line is required by 8:00 a.m. that day.  The number is 973-535-8000, ext. 7104.
    • Daily Morning Announcements:  I will create daily morning announcements that will be shared with students.  These announcements will NOT be emailed to parents; instead, teachers will share the announcements as part of their daily morning meetings. 
    • Schedules:  As parents will note in teachers' schedules, students will be with teachers on Zoom from 8:05 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. (K-2) or 12:10 p.m. (3-5) to engage in both synchronous (live) and asynchronous (independent, self-paced) instruction.  Additional meetings/lessons are scheduled for the afternoon and will be noted in teachers' schedules.  These afternoon meetings can be whole or small group with classroom teachers or other support teachers, and teachers will communicate this accordingly.  
    • Specials:  Students will meet live with special area teachers according to their class' six-day rotation schedule. Special area teachers will join their scheduled classes using the classroom teachers' Zoom link; students will NOT have to use different links for special area classes.  The classroom teachers' Zoom links are "one-stop shops" for ease of use for students.  Specialists will post assignments for K-2 directly on teachers' SeeSaw pages and will have their own Google Classroom pages for students in grades 3-5. 
    • Homework:  Since we expect for the school day and schedule to be appropriately rigorous (and likely exhausting) for students, teachers have been encouraged to assign homework minimally, if at all.  Parents may expect an occasional assignment that may include reading, which research on homework suggests may be one of the only worthwhile homework activities for elementary aged children. 
    • SeeSaw:  K-2 Families--Please review this tutorial with your children. SeeSaw

    We are hopeful that families will appreciate the extent by which we have improved the remote learning experience for students, which will include a mix of synchronous (live) and asynchronous (not live; independent, self-paced) instruction.  As you will note, students will spend a large part of their days on Zoom with teachers live.  This does not mean that teachers will talk at students for 4+ straight hours; it does mean, however, that teachers will provide instruction/direction and be available for individual and small group support throughout lessons, as needed.  

    We aim to provide an experience that is similar to true classroom life to the extent possible, including opportunities for snack, brain and movement breaks, and transitions.  It should further be noted that the first week of school (at least) will not necessarily follow the schedule as indicated by the teacher in order to allow for community-building and ice-breaking activities.  This would be the case if we were in school together, in person, and we place great value and importance on building relationships with students prior to delving deep into academics.  This work will include character development and social-emotional learning lessons. 

    As we have raised our own expectations for the quality of learning we are providing our students, we further need your assistance to ensure that your children are prepared to learn each day.  As such, we respectfully ask families to:

    • Ensure that children have an appropriate breakfast prior to attending their morning meetings at 8:05 a.m.
    • Ensure that children are appropriately dressed for school.
    • Ensure that children have a quiet and organized space in which to work that is well lit and comfortable, free of distractions, including toys, games, electronics, food and siblings, if applicable. 
    • Ensure that children have appropriate learning tools, including their devices, paper, pencils and materials provided by the teacher at our upcoming supply pickups.
    • Ensure that children remain on camera with cameras turned on at all times.
    • Ensure that children remain at their work stations unless permission is granted by the teacher to get up for any reason (e.g., to go to the bathroom).  This may sound silly, but serves to establish the expectation that they are in school and the structure necessary for teachers to successfully deliver instruction without interruption.  
    • Ensure that when it is time, children have an appropriate snack for snack time.  Hydration throughout the day is encouraged and children are certainly welcome to have a drink nearby, but not too close to their devices!
    • Ensure that children are on time and present for all of their required lessons, including daily specials and afternoon whole and small group activities, as scheduled. 

    Families can help prepare their children using the following graphic that was provided in the guide last week:

    Your support is so greatly appreciated and we thank you, in advance, for your cooperation and assistance!

    Meet and Greets

    We look forward to next week's Meet & Greets/Supply Pickups.  As noted in the guide sent last week, current students in grades 1-5 who were Hillside students last year should bring any instructional items from the previous school year, such as library books and classroom supplies, to school during their Meet and Greets labeled with children’s names.  School-issued computers should remain at home.

    The Meet and Greet/Supply Pick-up Day schedule is as follows:

    • Wednesday, September 9:  Grades K & 3, 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
    • Thursday, September 10:  Grades 1 & 4, 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
    • Friday, September 11:  Grades 2 & 5, 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
      • Note:  There is a window of time between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. for pickup.  We will conclude pick at 2:30 p.m.  Families should plan to park off site on surrounding streets and walk onto the property. 

    Weather permitting, tables will be set up by teacher/class around the upper blacktop.  Students and families will have the opportunity to meet their teachers and pick up supplies, including a device for students in grades 1 and 2, and devices for new students in grades 3 through 5.  Children and adults must wear masks and maintain a safe social distance of at least six feet from the teachers and one another.  

    Kindergarten families are already aware that we are short devices at this time and should contact me directly if a device is needed until the ones that were ordered arrive (there is a tentative delivery date of October, last I heard).  I do sincerely apologize for this inconvenience.  

    Weather not permitting, we will utilize the tent area for distribution along with another alternate location on site, to be determined.  I will be in touch with additional information should it be necessary to change our current plans.  Please stay tuned and cross your fingers for a decent forecast!

    Supply kits purchased through the PTA will also be distributed on these days.  These kits are no longer available for purchase.  Families can find each grade level's school supply list here.  We kindly request that families have supplies ready for student use starting on Monday, September 14th.  

    Note:  On each grade’s scheduled day, classes will meet using a partial day schedule to provide the time needed for teachers to be present for the Meet and Greet/Supply Pick-up events.  On these days, instruction will conclude at 12:10 p.m. for the grade levels involved. 

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Message from the Hillside PTA

    Hello, Hillside Parents!

    Welcome back to school!  The Hillside PTA is in search of volunteers to serve as Class Parents. The Class Parents act as liaisons between the PTA, teachers, and parents. If you are interested in serving as a Class Parent for the 2020-2021 school year, please use the link below. Thank you! 

    Best,

    The Hillside PTA Executive Board

    https://hillsideschoolpta.membershiptoolkit.com/class_parents_signup

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Thanks so much, have a great weekend, and a wonderfully fantastic first day of school!

    Warm regards,

    Mr. Gramata

    P.S.  Please see below for the upcoming calendar of activities and events.

    P.P.S.  As always, this message will also be posted on the school’s site under “Principal’s Messages” for future reference. 

    Upcoming Calendar of Activities/Events

    Week of September 7, 2020

    Monday, 9-7:             Labor Day, Schools Closed

    Tuesday, 9-8:             First Day for Students

    Wednesday, 9-9:       Grades K & 3 Meet & Greet/Supply & Device Pickups, 1:30 p.m.

    Thursday, 9-10:           Grades 1 & 4 Meet & Greet/Supply & Device Pickups, 1:30 p.m.

    Friday, 9-11:                 Grades 2 & 5 Meet & Greet/Supply & Device Pickups, 1:30 p.m.


    Week of September 14, 2020

    Tuesday, 9-15: Virtual PTA Meeting, 7:00 p.m. (click for Zoom link)

    Note:  The PTA's Movie Night originally scheduled for Friday, September 18th, was mistakenly scheduled for the evening that begins Rosh Hashanah.  A rescheduled date is forthcoming. 

    Week of September 21, 2020

    Thursday, 9-24: Hillside's Back to School Night (held virtually; information forthcoming)



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Call for Safety

  • Call for Safety In order to ensure the safety of our students, parents should use the Call For Safety phone line and report the student’s name, day or dates the student is absent or tardy, and the reason for the absence or tardy.

    973-535-8000, x7104

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